For nearly four decades, food banks have provided a vital link between food and families in need. Today, more than 200 food banks across the United States distribute millions of tons of provisions to more than 46 million people, or more than 14 percent of the US population. These hubs supply food pantries, churches, and other charities with their offerings for hunger relief, and thereby shape the food ecosystem for low-income America.

Food banks have largely defined their challenge as lack of...

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